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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Assessing Potential Fertility of Individual Males: Evaluation of Sperm Characteristics and Function in Turkeys

Author
item Donoghue, Ann

Submitted to: National Poultry Breeders Roundtable
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: May 14, 1998
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Reproductive management in turkeys is extremely labor-intensive since artificial insemination (AI) is used exclusively for reproduction. Sire selection is not a major consideration for commercial operations. Management practices dictate pooling of semen from 10-15 toms to provide adequate semen volume for the large numbers of hens requiring AI on a weekly basis. It is generally assumed that sperm in good quality semen from all toms are equally fecund. However, paternity efficiency after pooling multiple ejaculates has not been previously determined in the turkey. This paper outlines why it may be important to evaluate males as individuals and how we can use advances made in the understanding and measurement of sperm function to improve reproductive efficiency in turkeys.

Technical Abstract: Reproduction management in turkeys is extremely labor-intensive since artificial insemination (AI) is used exclusively for reproduction. Furthermore, if broiler breeders continue to increase in body weight and skeletal frame, AI may be the only economical means to produce hatching eggs. In livestock production systems where AI is practiced, extensive semen analysis is fundamental to sire selection and reproductive management. However, for production of the commercial turkey, evaluation of semen from individual toms is limited to visualization of semen color, measurement of ejaculate volume and possibly sperm concentration. Sire selection is not a major consideration for commercial operations. Management practices dictate pooling of semen from 10-15 toms to provide adequate semen volume for the large numbers of hens requiring AI on a weekly basis. It is generally assumed that sperm in good quality semen from all toms are equally fecund. However, paternity efficiency after pooling multiple ejaculates has not been previously determined in the turkey. This paper will outline why it may be important to evaluate males as individuals and how we can use advances made in the understanding and measurement of sperm function to improve reproductive efficiency in turkeys.

Last Modified: 9/22/2014
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